Death Star butternut
Tuesday January 03rd 2017, 11:47 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Life,Politics,Recipes

So today the House of Representatives, having decided that, Ethics Committee? We don’t need no stinkin’ Ethics! found that having the voters storm the gates by the thousands and thousands in protest meant that, Oh wait, what we meant to say was of course we do!

Meantime, we had one last Pilgrim butternut squash from the garden. It had been sitting on the kitchen counter for months. There was no way my still-broken right knuckle was coming anywhere near the size of knife and amount of oomph it would take for me to break into that thing and I didn’t like that stringy variety enough to ask Richard to bother–we’d tasted those.

It was left for last because it had a bit of a Death Star look to it: a squirrel had taken a bite out of the bulbous end when it was quite young and it had crusted over and healed while the rest of the bulb part swelled and grew huge around it. I figured there was no squirrel spit inside, but still…

Sunday, the Merc ran this column. Don’t slice your fingers. Just put the whole thing in the hot oven like a baked potato. Simple.

Well, that would finally get it off my counter, at the very least. I tried it. No foil, it didn’t deserve it and it kinda came in its own anyway, I just threw it in and on second thought grabbed it back and put a cookie sheet underneath. Good thing.

I’d felt a bit conned by the ad copy claiming it was one of the best-tasting.

Well let me tell you. It is now. Or at least til I grow me some Walthams later, as someone suggested here for next time. But man that was good! It steamed and caramelized itself and the shell peeled off like paper. Still slightly stringy inside, but I could Cuisinart the leftovers (it had been six pounds) into a pumpkin pie that wouldn’t need much or any sugar added; it’s got its own this way.

It did try to live up to that Death Star persona one last time, though: it exploded at the flaw straight down onto the cookie sheet, where the sugars blew up like a marshmallow and then blackened into a finely molded dust while the smell let you know that that squash really did need to come out of there!

Oooh, but the rest of it…! I am definitely growing squashes again and I wasn’t sure of that before.

I am reminded of the time when I was a young mom of thinking I would finally put the actual fillet knife someone had given us to its purported use and I bought a live fish from an Asian market. I chose it, they cleaned it, and then I painstakingly tried to follow James Beard’s instructions on how to carve the scales off. I spent quite a bit of time ever so carefully hacking away while trying not to damage the thing and finally, feeling like an utter failure, looked at how little I’d gotten done and how bad it looked, said nuts to this, and simply threw foil around it and let the oven take care of it while I caught up with whatever my kids had been getting into during my distraction.

I pulled it out of there with the skin falling away with the foil. The idea of trying to ditch the scales and keep the skin for the perfect restaurant presentation had been ridiculous all along. It didn’t have to be the hard way at all.

Fish, squash, and Congressmen: they can come out right after all, all you have to do is surround them with heat.

6 Comments so far
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Isn’t roasted butternut delicious? I usually cut lengthwise before putting it in the oven but will have to try your method. Waltham is the best but any winter squash can be stringy when they don’t get enough water so that might be part of the problem with yours. Wet years they all get mushy so it is either mush or strings if conditions are extreme. I make sure each plant in my raised bed gets 2 full gallons of water each week if we haven’t had rain that week and that seems to work well. In drought years I use water I reclaimed by putting a basin in the shower while we take our showers then pour into a gallon milk jug! We use natural soap so I don’t worry about contaminating the soil with chemicals. Need to go to the basement and get a couple of squash to bake, you have my mouth watering.


Comment by sue o 01.04.17 @ 3:50 am

lol yes surround them with heat.
My favorite squash are the acorn squash. When they are good they are really good, but sometimes I’ve gotten some where the flesh wasn’t as orange as I think it should have been and they are not as good. (I try to look for a deep orange spot on the skin where it has rested on the ground as an indicator of how ripe…usually works)

Comment by Helen 01.04.17 @ 9:00 am

I cook all my squash this way–I am klutzy and do not want to risk losing a finger. Tips: use a skewer or a sharp knife to poke a hole at the top to release heat so that oozing doesn’t happen at the bottom. I also try to put them in pans with sides, and add a bit of water to steam the squash a little, too. It makes clean up easier.

You can also do the squash in your slow cooker if it fits. Don’t cut it, poke it once or twice, add a bit of water to the bottom of the cooker, and cook it a while. (squash size affects cooking time! Look around online for a suggestion based on your type of squash)

I just made a bunch of sweet acorn squash/applesauce chocolate chip muffins this morning– designed to tempt 5 year olds, too!

Comment by Joanne 01.04.17 @ 12:06 pm

One of my resolutions for the year (or the next 2-4, as needed) – keep the gas bill paid*, so I can turn up the heat all I need to.

*stay informed, seek more information, seek yet more information, take a break every now and then, and call and call and call those representatives, and show up at meetings, and work for enfranchisement of all citizens!

Comment by twinsetellen 01.04.17 @ 1:06 pm

Death Star – so funny! I quite often do my squash this way, especially when doing a large quantity for a church dinner. However, you do need to give it a poke or two with a skewer so it doesn’t explode. So simple and so delicious! And the leftovers would make great soup too!

Chris S in Canada

Comment by Chris S 01.04.17 @ 5:07 pm

Now if enough people roast them over the Affordable Care Act.
Gee – lets just take health care away from20 million people.
We could feed them squash and it would be all right…
Love your commentary

Comment by Holly 01.04.17 @ 11:05 pm

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